Cloud Computing and Deflationary Innovation

Michael Vizard

Deflationary innovation tends to be a nice way of saying necessity is the mother of invention.


Economic pressures are forcing a lot of IT organizations to get a lot more innovative about their approach to IT. For the past year, most of the innovation with cloud computing has focused on utilitarian applications like backup and recovery and applications not previously deployed.

In 2010, we're in the early stages of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud, according to Raj Badarinath, a senior vice president who heads up the CRM practice for the IT consulting service firm Patni Computer Systems. But before that happens, IT organizations first need to examine their application portfolio. After years of economic growth followed by a sharp downturn, companies still have a lot of redundant applications and paying monthly fees for redundant applications doesn't make sense.

At the same time, IT organizations need to see advances in virtualization performance to make sure these mission-critical applications can run at acceptable speeds in the cloud. While it's true that a cloud computing provider could run these applications on physical servers at less cost, most cloud computing providers are trying to leverage virtualization in a multi-tenant architecture to keep their costs down.

Only once those two processes are complete can most IT organizations really entertain cloud computing for their mission-critical applications. Over time, this shift will most certainly happen, and in the end, about 80 percent of a company's servers will be accessed throught the cloud. As part of that process, however, many IT organizations will have to re-engineer their mission-critical applications to create modular components that can be deployed in a service-oriented architecture. That, too, will take some time, with about 20 percent of mission-critical code running on premise while other modules run in the cloud.

If you're getting the sense that moving mission-critical applications to the cloud is going to be more of a journey than an event, you're probably right. No doubt this process will take years to complete, and once it does, IT organizations will find themselves playing the role of integrators of services.

In the meantime, business executives are going to be looking at financial models and asking when more of the company's applications will be running in the cloud. So the hardest thing about all this might just be explaining to them why they need to be patient in order to make all this happen in a way that does more good than harm.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 22, 2010 1:00 AM YD YD  says:

Interesting article. I linked it to the Platform Computing facebook page because it makes some good points that might be of value to our customers when they are deciding what to do about private cloud computing.

Feb 22, 2010 3:42 AM Mike Legato Mike Legato  says:

Nice article Mike.  I think some applications will live both on-premise and in the cloud, especially while we transition to your "80% in the cloud" timeframe.  For example, you might have an on-premise application with cloud-based disaster recovery, or you might have an on-premise application that can be scaled out using the cloud.  It should be a fun ride!

Feb 22, 2010 6:06 AM John Green John Green  says: in response to Mike Legato

I believe most organizations will entertain cloud computing for their mission-critical applications when security and availability requirements have been addressed, followed by performance and appropriate SLAs; until then I believe we'll continue to see cloud computing focusing on non-core applications.

In the interest of full disclosure, I work for Stratus Technologies, Inc.[/link]; we produce the world's most reliable fault tolerant servers delivering 6-nines availability; therefore, at least from a server perspective, the good news is that the virtual infrastructure required to support mission critical applications is already accessible to cloud providers.


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